East High School alumni raise millions for facility improvements, scholarships

East High School is seen on April 29, 2021 in Des Moines.
East High School is seen on April 29, 2021 in Des Moines.

East High School students in Des Moines will see improvements to their sports and activities complex following a multimillion dollar donation from alumni.

The East High School Alumni Foundation donated $4.1 million as part of the Campaign for East High School, which aimed to improve the school's facilities, according to the group's news release. Almost $3.6 million has been earmarked for building projects including dugouts and press boxes for the softball and baseball complex.

The new construction is slated to be completed by spring. Additionally, $500,000 will go to an endowment fund for East High School student scholarships.

Related:This Des Moines Public Schools' high school received a multimillion dollar donation

The goal of the campaign, which began in 2020 with a $1 million donation, was to meet students' needs in and out of school, said Jeff White, East High Alumni Foundation president.

"We knew that while we were benefiting these types of students once they graduated from this high school," White said, "we needed to continue to help students while they are there."

East is one of Des Moines Public Schools' most diverse schools with almost 45% of its students identifying as Hispanic and 82% of students qualifying for free and reduced meals. With this in mind, the organization considers the push to improve East's extracurricular opportunities and activities, and grow the scholarship fund as a way of working toward equity and inclusivity.

“This campaign was about leveling the playing field for East High students,” said Steve Taylor, campaign co-chairman.

More than 400 people donated.

"Our school is fortunate that so many people," said Jill Versteeg, East High School principal, "decades after they may have graduated, still consider East High to be their educational home and are willing to be so generous in their support of current and future students."

To learn more about the East High Alumni Foundation go to www.easthighschoolalumnifoundation.org.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: East High School alumni raise millions for facility improvements